Sunday, September 5, 2004
Why is it inappropriate--or appropriate--to use the occasion of a death or tragedy to try to covert others to one’s beliefs?
CONQUER, THEN DIVIDE:
SAVING THE “UNCHURCHED”
THE REFORM MORMON CONCEPT OF CHURCH
Most denominations within worldwide Mormonism go even farther--claiming that their particular denomination is the “only true and living Church,” and that it is impossible to please God without submitting to its ordinances and leadership.
To fulfill one’s Divine potential, one must venture beyond beyond the walls and confines of any single church.
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All view points & opinions are welcomed!
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From Mark Gollaher: I think that times of tragedy can afect us in several ways, not the least of which is making us open for a pardigm shift. If someone is seeking, I don't think it's inappropriate to to share how the world makes sense to you with them. To prey upon another's vulnerability and fears is another matter entirely. Having lost my Father, I have learned that more often the person needs most to express thier greif and frustration rather than hear trite religious explainations meant to give solace.
As far as using tragedy as a spring board for conversion: one has to ask, how genuinely loving is it when the love you feel does not motivate you to listen and try to understand another but to get them to see God the way you do regaurdless of how strongly you believe you are right and conversion would benefit that person...
I have always thought that if Christians (Mormons included) would just truly live the precepts of the gospel, especially the admonition of Jesus to "Love your neighbor as yourself", no active prosyliting would be necessary. If the focus were on tangable service and love to everyone--not just those in your church--and if that love inpired a desire to understand rather be understood, I believe the pure in heart would be seeking to learn more and there would be no "encouraging" necessary....
...our emotions are often the medium the spirit uses to speak to us. They can bring thoughts and understanding to our mind that our intellect and powers of reason alone are not yet capable. On the other hand, our own emotions or feelings of fear, anger, injustice, our need to controll others to feel secure or even being overly facinated with and longing for a revelatory experience--can all interfere with and mimic feelings of true inspiration....
Whenever a person is in a hightened emotional or aggitated state they are vulnerable to mistaking emotionalism for promting of the spirit. Creating a feeling of religious fervor is very akin to getting all excited at a sporitng event. No matter how caught up you are in hoping your team will win, it will never mean that your team is the "only true team" or that God, too, is hoping they'll win. Not only that, but now you are in a state of predudiced perception, incapable of objectively judging whether that foul the Reff just called was truly justified or not. You're own emotions in this case are screaming so loudly the still small voice could never be heard.
I believe a person must let go of all predudice, hope for a specific outcome, and especially fear, in order to trully be capable of "feeling" the promptings of the spirit...
I have a simple test I use for determing whether a feeling is inspiration or merely my own emotionalism: Does this experience fill me with love? Does it make me more willing to open my heart and understand my fellowman? Does it inspire me to become a more Christlike person? Or, on the other hand, does it increase feelings of fear and mistrust, lead me to judge or cause me to withdraw from my practical responsibilities in life?
The spirit edifies and makes the heart more tolerant and loving--even when the message from the spirit is a warning. Anything that stirs up fear or anger or justifies resentment, judgmentalness or lack of love and understanding is not from God...
When the focus and motivating desire behind "loving" or helping "someone" is to get them to comform to your way of thinking, it gets in the way of truly understanding and accepting the other person. This is not the pure, unconditional love of Christ; it engenders resentment and rejection if the other person does not convert, thereby validating your own religious conviction as the only true path acceptable to God.
related to this week’s lesson
“The Pearl of Great Price” Joseph Smith--History 1
“Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet” by Dan Vogel
(The new definitive biography of young Joseph Smith. The first seven chapters are devoted to the roles of church and religion in the Smith family.)
The Smith Family Log Cabin near Palmyra, New York
The Smith Family Farm House near Palmyra, New York
The Sacred Grove (traditionally believed to be the site of Joseph Smith’s First Vision)
The Western Presbyterian Church in Palmyra, New York (second church from the left)
Alvin Smith’s tombstone in Palmyra, New York
Reform Mormon writings on:
The purpose and role of a church
The church and homosexuals
The church and women
The church and intellectuals
The church and racism
The following books give some background information on the roles of church and religion in Colonial and early 19th century American society:
“The Faiths of the Fathers: What America’s Founders Really Believed,” by Alf J. Mapp
“Without God, Without Creed” by James Turner
“The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness,“ by Isaac Kramnick & R. Laurence Moore
“The Refiner’s Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844,” by John L. Brooke
“JOSEPH SMITH’S FIRST VISION--PART II”